What is a healthy posture? A good posture is one that is balanced, relaxed, and long lasting. Healthy posture allows natural movement of energy within our bodies and minds. On the other hand, poor posture tends to be unbalanced, tensed and collapsed, causing mental and physical strain that could otherwise be avoided.
In the yoga asana (posture) practice we look for the quality of ‘Sthira Sukham’. The Sanskrit word ‘Sthira’ can be translated to mean firm, steady or lasting and ‘Sukham’ refers to happiness, delight and comfort. Therefore, we are looking for a steady and comfortable posture. You will find that when these qualities exist at the same time, it will naturally be long lasting and sustainable.
So how can we achieve these qualities? First of all, it seems obvious but one of the most important factors for improving your posture is awareness. Like most things, without awareness it’s difficult to make conscious lasting changes. Although, at first this seems like a simple advice, it’s actually really hard to be aware of your posture, especially when you’re concentrating on something else. For example, working on a computer or doing the house work. We tend to only notice our posture when parts of our body start to ache as a result of being in a bad position for too long.
How can we be more aware of our body when we are focusing on something else? Bizarrely, the key to this answer is again awareness or attentiveness. If we are more conscious of how we use our body in our everyday life, we can know when we’ve collapsed our posture. It’s then easier to pay more attention during this time and make the necessary adjustments. Although, it sound easy this is a continuous process and we need to adapt and be mindful as our life changes.
The good news is that more yoga practice you do, more attentive and aware you can be of your body and mind. Regular asana practice will help to create a relaxed and strong body and mind, and help to create healthier and more balanced posture.